Cloverfield (15th Anniversary) (Limited Edition 4K SteelBook Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A group of friends must make their way into the heart of Manhattan on a rescue mission during a deadly monster attack.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

The J.J. Abrams-produced, Matt Reeves-directed Cloverfield is one of the definitive American action films to come in the decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A Western-style kaiju (Japanese monster movie) film, the story perfectly captured the terror of an unknown attack and the angst and disaster that follows in its wake.

The film was shot in the “found footage” style by Reeves using mostly handheld camcorders. We first meet our protagonists at a going away party for Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David). Rob is a young professional who has just taken a position in Japan. Rob’s younger brother Jason (Mike Vogel), and his girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas), organized the party along with their best friend Hud (T.J. Miller) who is documenting the whole affair on a video camera. While Hud ostensibly is meant to spend his time documenting farewell messages to Rob from party attendees, really, he is pining for Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), trying to get her to wish Rob a goodbye message even though she barely knows him.

The party’s first disruption comes when Rob’s longtime friend and current love interest Beth (Odette Yustman), shows up with her new boyfriend. It doesn’t take long for Lily to spill the tea that Rob and Beth recently slept together, and Rob ghosted her, unable to reconcile his feelings with the fact that he would be leaving for Japan in just a couple of weeks. Right after Beth storms out of the party, a rumble occurs and the power in the building and surrounding area goes out. When power is restored, the partygoers see on the news that a tanker has been overturned in the harbor. That is when the big explosions begin, fire raining from the sky and our protagonists Rob, Lily, Hud, and Marlena find themselves in the middle of chaos.

But the horror is yet to begin. Rob gets a desperate call from Beth on his cellphone and must go recue her from her midtown Manhattan apartment. The group soon realize they aren’t running from terrorists or an invading army, but a massive creature possibly of alien origin.

The found footage style of filmmaking is not always very effective. In fact, it can get tiresome quickly if not done well. Reeves does it well, very well. He not only places the viewer in the middle of the chaos, but his technique of editing in snippets of the “overwritten” videotape footage of Rob’s and Beth’s relationship is eerie and serves as chance to take a breather.

Where the power lies in Cloverfield is the uncanny ability for the film to capture the horror and dread that the country experience on and after 9/11 and it still has the same impact it had in 2008 today.

  • Cloverfield (2008)
  • Michael Stahl-David in Cloverfield (2008)
  • Michael Stahl-David in Cloverfield (2008)
  • T.J. Miller in Cloverfield (2008)
  • Matt Reeves, Mike Vogel, and Jessica Lucas in Cloverfield (2008)
  • Odette Annable and Michael Stahl-David in Cloverfield (2008)
  • Michael Bonvillain, Lizzy Caplan, and Matt Reeves in Cloverfield (2008)
  • Lizzy Caplan and Jessica Lucas in Cloverfield (2008)
  • Cloverfield 15th Anniversary Limited Edition SteelBook (Paramount)
  • Cloverfield 15th Anniversary Limited Edition SteelBook (Paramount)
  • Cloverfield 15th Anniversary Limited Edition SteelBook (Paramount)

The Video

Cloverfield was originally shot on a number of Panasonic camcorders with some scenes shot on the Panavision Genesis HD camera and Sony CineAlta F23 and Thomson VIPER FilmStream cameras. The entire artistic intent of the film is to simulate a “found footage” personal video camera effect. In other words, this was and is never a film that is going to look like a reference release. With that being said, this 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision upgrade of Cloverfield does yield some surprising results.

The original Blu-ray release, which is included in this Anniversary SteelBook edition, doesn’t quite show has much crispness or digital granularity for lack of a better word as this 4K release. The Dolby Vision grading also adds a lot more ‘pop’ and three-dimensionality to the various blazes, streetlamps and flashlights, although we can still see the inherent blow out in white levels and black crush in shadows.

The Audio

This new edition of Cloverfield comes with the same English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix which was previously included on Blu-ray. It is disappointing that this film was not remixed with Atmos or DTS:X, but it is nevertheless still a showpiece audio mix. For the bass-heads out there, Cloverfield does not disappoint. Incredibly early on this mix offers up staggeringly deep low end when the explosions start rollicking New York City there is lots of “booj” and floorboard-rattling frequencies. The surround channels carry many discrete sounds like the whirring fireballs falling from the sky, helicopters whipping around and crowds running.

The Supplements

This 15th Anniversary Edition of Cloverfield does not include any new bonus features, which is disappointing. On the other hand, we do get the gorgeous new SteelBook packaging and artwork with translucent slipcover.

  • Digital Copy Code
  • Previously Released Blu-ray with Feature Film and Previously Released Bonus Features
  • Commentary by Director Matt Reeves (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • Special Investigation Mode
  • Document 01.18.08: The Making of Cloverfield (1080p; 00:28:22)
  • Cloverfield Visual Effects (1080p; 00:22:32)
  • I Saw It! It’s Alive! It’s Huge! (1080p; 00:05:53)
  • Clover Fun (1080p; 00:03:56)
  • Deleted Scenes w/optional commentary by director Matt Reeves (1080p; 00:03:25):
    • Congrats Rob
    • When You’re in Japan
    • I Call That a Date
    • It’s Going to Hurt
  • Alternate Endings w/optional commentary by director Matt Reeves (1080p; 00:04:29)

The Final Assessment

A classic kaiju horror that perfectly captured the overwhelming dread and horror of the post-9/11 era and has a rollicking 5.1 lossless soundtrack to boot. This steelbook edition has beautiful artwork, but doesn’t add anything else new that hasn’t been previously released.


Cloverfield (15th Anniversary) is out on 4K Limited Edition SteelBook January 17, 2023 from Paramount


  • Rating Certificate: PG-13 (for violence, terror and disturbing images)
  • Studios & Distributors: Paramount Pictures | Bad Robot | Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Director: Matt Reeves
  • Written By: Drew Goddard
  • Run Time: 84 Mins.
  • Street Date: 17 January 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: French (Canadian) DD 5.1 | French (Parisian) DD 5.1 | Spanish (Latino) DD 5.1 | Portuguese (Brazilian) DD 5.1 | German DD 5.1 | Japanese DD 5.1 | English Audio Description
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | French (Canadian) | French (Parisian) | French (Canadian) | Spanish (Latino) | Portuguese (Brazilian) | German | Japanese | Dutch | Danish | Finnish | Norwegian | Swedish
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A group of friends must make their way into the heart of Manhattan on a rescue mission during a deadly monster attack.Cloverfield (15th Anniversary) (Limited Edition 4K SteelBook Review)
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